WTA Indian Wells: Yulia Putintseva Cruises Past Rusty Peng Shuai

WTA Rising Star Yulia Putintseva needed just 56 minutes to defeat a very rusty Peng Shuai - who was playing her first singles match in nine months - 6-0, 6-1 to book her place in the second round of the 2016 BNP Paribas Open. Next up for Putintseva will be 27th seed Kristina Mladenovic, who earned herself a bye in the first round.

Putintseva Races Through First Set

Opening her first singles match in nearly nine months, Peng was unsurprisingly rusty, and Putintseva took full advantage. Benefiting from a couple of loose unforced errors from the Chinese woman, the Kazakh drew first blood by breaking straight away. Despite being at risk of surrendering the break right back, Putintseva came up with the goods, consolidating the break to lead 2-0. Things soon went from bad to worse for Peng, who was struggling to find her timing off the ground, as she was broken at love in the following game to give Putintseva an early 3-0 lead. Continuing to build on her dream start, the Kazakh number one wasted no time in consolidating the double break, before following it up with another chance to break in the next game. Despite Peng's best efforts, Putintseva was not to be denied. Keeping her perfect 100% break point conversion rate alive, the WTA Rising Star broke for a third time, courtesy of yet another unforced error from her Chinese counterpart - who was noticeably struggling to get a foothold in this first round clash. Putintseva didn't seem to mind though, and it was only a matter of time until she closed out the opening set 6-0 in a few minutes shy of the half hour mark.

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

Late Resistance from Peng No Match for Putintseva

The second set began much like the first as unfortunately for Peng, she was broken straight away to hand Putintseva an early advantage. From there, the 21-year-old was quick to consolidate the early break, much like in the opening set, and the end result suddenly looked very ominous for Peng. As Putintseva continued to apply the pressure from the receiving end, Peng began to falter once more, and it was only a matter of time until the Kazakh number one broke for a fifth time, which she did at the first time of asking. Leading by a set and 3-0, the WTA Rising Star showed no signs of slowing down, holding to get closer and closer to a berth in the second round as she benefited from an error-strewn performance from her Chinese counterpart. Much to the delight of the fans in Stadium 1, Peng was able to get on the board not long thereafter to avoid the dreaded double bagel in her comeback match. Unfortunately, that late resistance from the former world number 14 was no match for Putintseva, who blitzed through the last two games of the match to seal a comprehensive 6-0, 6-1 victory in 56 minutes.

Putintseva and Peng by the Numbers

In her first singles match since having back surgery in the middle of 2015, Peng was unsurprisingly very rusty, and paid the price against a very steady opponent. The 30-year-old hit 10 winners but nearly three times as many unforced errors (29) and failed to convert her lone break point in the opening set, while the 21-year-old Kazakh stayed consistent, hitting 11 winners to just six unforced errors and converting all six of her break point opportunities.

Next Up for Putintseva: Kristina Mladenovic

Next up for Putintseva will be 27th seed Kristina Mladenovic, whom she has a 1-2 head-to-head record against. After the Kazakh won their first encounter, the Frenchwoman won both of their next two meetings in straight sets. However, given Putintseva's great form in recent months and Mladenovic struggling to find any consistency on the singles court, this could prove to be a very fascinating second round encounter, with the winner projected to face world number one Serena Williams in round three.

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